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How to Paint a Bathroom Floor

Pulling up and replacing a bathroom floor is one way to redecorate the room, but it is not always possible to remove the existing floor due to constraints of budget or time. Painting a bathroom floor may not seem like your best option, but given the quality and durability of adhesion primers and waterproof sealers, it’s a surprisingly inexpensive, attractive and durable way to give your bathroom a brand new look.


  1. Before painting a bathroom floor, you must clean it thoroughly so that the primer will adhere. It also helps to take some of the gloss off of the floor because primer clings better to a surface that is not shiny. You can clean and degloss the floor at the same time by using trisodium triphosphate, or TSP. It is not as powerful as a commercial deglosser, but it is still caustic, so wear rubber gloves and goggles. Open all of the windows and turn on the ventilator fan to dissipate the fumes. Sweep the floor. Dilute the TSP according to the proportions suggested on the label. Sponge the floor thoroughly with a sponge dampened with the TSP solution. Rinse the floor thoroughly with clear water and let it dry overnight.


  1. Sanding roughs up the surface of the floor to help the primer adhere to it. This may be necessary if you are painting a shiny ceramic tile floor. Use a hand sander and 120-grit to 180-grit sandpaper to take the shine off of the tiles. Use a sanding clock on peel and stick tiles or linoleum rather than a power sander so that you don’t damage the floor. Start at the point that is farthest from the door and work your way out. Sweep the floor to remove the majority of the sanding dust, and then go over it again with a tack cloth to ensure the primer goes on smoothly.


  1. Cover the floor with a thin coat of epoxy primer formulated specifically for the type of floor you are painting. Use an edging brush to cover the areas around the toilet, sink, tub and/or shower. Use a paintbrush or a roller to fill in the rest of the floor. Let the primer dry overnight, and leave the windows open if it is safe to do so and is not raining. This will help the floor dry and will also make the fumes less noticeable in the rest of the house.


  1. Start with a clean edging brush and paint that is specifically formulated for the type of floor that you are painting. Make sure that the primer and paint you choose are compatible with each other. Edge around the fixtures with an angled brush. Fill in the rest of the bathroom, working from the point farthest from the door out, with a long-handled roller. Let the first coat of paint dry for however long the label suggests before deciding whether or not you will need a second coat of paint. Let the second coat dry for two to three days if you are painting over ceramic tiles.


  1. Since water is in issue in bathrooms, it is a good idea to seal the floor with a waterproof sealer. The clear, water-based urethanes like those made for boats are excellent for this, but read the label to make sure the sealer will be compatible for your paint and that it will dry clear. Apply the sealer with a brush or with a long-handled roller. Let it dry overnight or for however long the manufacturer recommends.